Credit unions' exception to credit insurance rule
MADISON, Wis.- A Consumer Federation of America and Center for Economic Justice report finds that credit unions are the only financial institutions that consistently meet or surpass the minimum consumer benefit mark for credit insurance. The credit insurance industry minimum recommended by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is a 60% loss ratio, which is the amount of premium insurers pay back to their insured customers in the form of benefits. The report states that consumers of credit insurance were overcharged some $2.5 billion last year. Credit unions however stand apart from that group. For example, the CUNA Mutual Group, which provides 75% of the credit insurance issued through credit unions, had a combined credit life/credit disability loss ratio of nearly 64% in the year 2000, said CUNA Mutual Vice President Keith Nelson. Credit life and disability insurance make the monthly payments on a borrower's loan if the borrower dies or becomes disabled. The insurance primarily targets the uninsured and underinsured. "Though our studies have been critical of credit insurance, we have always pointed to credit unions as the exception," said CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck. "In fact, our studies indicate that the type of provider, as much as any other factor, determines whether the purchase of credit insurance is a wise use of money."